Many of Australia’s native animals and plants aren’t found anywhere else on earth.

The Environmental Defenders Office runs landmark, innovative litigation on behalf of individuals, community groups and other organisations providing the tools necessary to protect our wonderful natural species and the places they call home.

Whether it’s advising about legal options to oppose rampant land clearing, empowering communities to reject bad developments, or providing the tools to all taking businesses and governments to court to defend native animals, EDO lawyers are the legal voice for our country’s unique and diverse wildlife.

Justice for nature

EDO has used the law to help clients defend some of Australia’s most iconic animals.  We have taken legal action against Japanese whalers to protect humpback whales in the Australian waters of the Antarctic

We have challenged the Shenhua mega-mine over its impacts on the local koala population and we have won greater protections for a population of Tasmanian Devils living close to an iron ore mine. 

Land clearing

Land clearing is one of the biggest threats faced by our native flora and fauna.  Since the year 2000 more than 7.7 million hectares of habitat have been cleared in Australia, threatening species including koalas.1

EDO empowers our clients to oppose destructive land clearing and advocates for stronger laws to truly protect wildlife habitat. We successfully challenged the Northern Territory’s single largest land clearing permit at Maryfield Station.  And we took the New South Wales Government to court over the making of its woefully inadequate native vegetation laws.


Our environmental laws are there to protect our unique native species.  The main national environmental law is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). In 2000, EDO brought the first legal action ever taken under the EPBC Act, to stop the large-scale electrocution of spectacled flying-foxes on a lychee property in north Queensland.

However, the law as it stands is not enough to stop more species becoming threatened, endangered and, disastrously, extinct. Working with some of Australia’s top legal minds, the EDO is helping to develop the next generation of Australian environmental laws that focus on environmental protection and sustainable development with transparency and accountability, rather than regulated destruction.

Read our page on the EPBC Act 10-year review.

  1. Australia cleared 7.7m hectares of threatened species habitat since introduction of environment act: The Guardian